DC bishop: Trump's church photo-op was 'usurpation of our sacred space'

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Protesters were tear-gassed and removed from Lafayette Square so Trump could pose for a photo holding a Bible.

The Right Rev. Mariann Budde, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, D.C., testified before Congress on Monday about the events surrounding attacks on protesters on June 1 in the city's Lafayette Square.

Budde criticized the use of police to clear the square so Donald Trump could walk across the square, saying it was "in violation of the protesters' right to be in that space."

Budde said of Trump's subsequent photo-op with a Bible in front of St. John's Church, Lafayette Square, which she oversees, "It was a misappropriation of scripture and a usurpation of our sacred space."

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From the June 29 hearing of the House Natural Resources Committee:

BISHOP MARIANN BUDDE: These actions, and in particular the use of violence against peaceful protesters, were antithetical to the teachings of the Bible and what we stand for as a Church.

 

When our government announced its intention to use military force against American citizens in the Rose Garden that day, it struck me as an escalation of violence that could cause unnecessary suffering. Then, to see the government carry out that threat moments later, I was horrified. It was dehumanizing and in violation of the protesters' right to be in that space.

 

Then, when the president held up a Bible outside our church as if to claim the mantle of spiritual authority over what had just transpired, I knew that I had to speak.

 

Nowhere does the Bible condone the use of violence against the innocent, especially those who are standing up for justice. It was a misappropriation of scripture and a usurpation of our sacred space.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.